TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) Kansas lawmakers who support expanding Medicaid blocked passage of the next state budget Friday in a high-stakes standoff designed to force the Legislature’s conservative Republican leaders to allow an expansion plan backed by Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly.
Kelly’s election last year raised hopes that Kansas would join 36 other states that have expanded Medicaid or seen voters pass ballot initiatives. But, like North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, two other Democrats pushing to expand Medicaid, she faces a GOP-controlled Legislature.
The Kansas House voted 63-61 against an $18.4 billion spending blueprint for the budget year that begins in July. House and Senate negotiators hashed out details Thursday night that were favorable for Kelly, fellow Democrats and moderate Republicans, with extra money for higher education, the prison system and state employee pay raises.